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Alemany downs Santa Cruz to win CIF State title forged from Mission League gauntlet

Alemany wins first CIF State title since 2012 thanks to Michael Lindsay's game-high 25 points

SACRAMENTO - It's been an interesting year for the Alemany boys basketball team.

The Warriors' season opener was against Montgomery High of San Diego, losing 89-53. They later suffered losses to Burbank Providence and Newport Harbor.

Then the reinforcements came: Logan Dorsey, Bourgeois Tshilobo and Samuel Mbingazo. Those three players were deemed eligible after serving a sit-out period due to transferring.

Despite the boost, Alemany still took its lumps in the daunting Mission League, going 1-6, including thumping losses to Harvard-Westlake (70-33) and Notre Dame (90-72).

"The Mission League prepares you in so many different ways, emotionally and physically," Alemany coach Mike Dulaney said.

It prepared Alemany for a CIF State championship run, that's what it did.

The Warriors completed the California high school basketball treble with a wire-to-wire 63-53 victory over Santa Cruz in the Division III state final at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento.

Alemany won the Division 3A sectional title and the Division III regional title before Dulaney lifted the state plaque with his team in celebration Friday night. It's the program's second CIF State championship after winning in 2012 (also Division III).

Michael Lindsay led all scorers with 25 points and Jared Mims added 14 points and eight steals for Alemany. Demarco Hunter led Santa Cruz with 22 points.

Alemany finished the season on an 11-game winning streak.

"We knew we'd be prepared for the postseason because we felt like there weren't too many teams better than the Mission League teams out there," Lindsay said.

Alemany dominated the game inside, outscoring Santa Cruz 40-18 in the paint. Tshilobo and Mbingazo combined for 16 rebounds, eight of which were offensive.

"We allowed their length to get to us," Santa Cruz coach Lawan Milhouse said. "When you get to this stage, you can't let that happen."

It's what's been working for the Warriors in the postseason with Tshilobo listed at 6-foot-8, Mbingazo listed at 6-foot-9 and wing Logan Dorsey at 6-foot-5.

"We have to win paint points," Dulaney said. "We've done that the last few games."

Longtime former Alemany coach Tray Meeks, who led the Warriors to the title in 2012, was watching Friday night's game from his home. Dulaney was an assistant under Meeks at one point.

"Super excited for coach Dulaney, his staff and the players. It couldn’t have happened to a better guy, he’s worked so hard and persevered all season long," Meeks said. "He kept his team believing when outsiders didn’t, and kept them focused on the ultimate goal."